The Pacific Northwest is home to stunning landscapes and natural beauty. Mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, the area has it all, and its residents really embrace the outdoors. Those who live in Portland have the special ability to drive in any direction and arrive at a scenic destination. That doesn’t mean you have to leave the city to get a dose of nature, however. Throughout the entire city, there are gorgeous parks and green spaces to enjoy. So many, in fact, that we couldn’t list them all here. Read on for some Portland botanical gardens that you can’t miss.
Leach Botanical Garden
Botanist Lilla Leach established The Leach Botanical Garden in 1931. Originally, the gardens served as landscaping for her private home. The land, located in outer southwest Portland, was later donated to the city.
This lush garden is now home to more than 2,000 species of native and non-native plants. You’ll find medicinal herbs, wildflowers, firs, and more than 125 species of ferns. The garden covers 16 acres, divided by Johnson Creek. It’s a beautiful place to wander around, with a self-guided tour winding through the park and many species labeled.
International Rose Test Garden
Because the climate is ideal for roses to thrive, Portland has earned the moniker “The City of Roses”. The International Rose Test Garden is the oldest official continuously operating public test garden for roses in the United States. Today, it is home to more than 10,000 roses!
The International Rose Test Garden came to be in 1917. It was originally conceptualized as a haven for hybrid roses grown in Europe during World War I. Today, the International Test Garden is full with a variety of exceptional roses. The park has a spectacular view of Mt Hood while overlooking the Willamette River and downtown Portland.
Portland’s Japanese Garden
The former Ambassador of Japan to the United States had high praise for the Portland Japanese Garden: it is “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan”.
In 1963, the garden was designed to contain 8 different garden styles held within 12 acres of Washington Park. Visitors can experience an authentic Japanese Tea House, small paths through Japanese foliage, and even streams and ponds. The garden is intended to convey that the experience of momentary peace can contribute to lasting peace in the world. It’s a special place to connect both with nature and the self through these tranquil surroundings.
This park is open 365 days a year. That’s a good thing, because you’ll need more than a day to explore all it has to offer. In 1928, Hoyt Arboretum was founded to conserve endangered species of plants. Today, they are still doing amazing protection work. You can find 2,300 species of plants, trees, and shrubs from six continents around the world. Currently, 63 species of the Arboretum’s plants are considered endangered or globally vulnerable.
The park sits on 190 acres and separates downtown Portland from the westside, and includes 12 miles of hiking trails. Hoyt Arboretum focuses on education, research, and conservation. It also serves as a beautiful and peaceful place to connect with nature in Portland.
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